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Jeff Pierce was the captain of the Chevrolet L.A. Sheriff professional cycling team and a top competitor. Previously he had won one stage of the Tour de France.

According to USA Today, he accepted an interesting and potentially dangerous assignment. To prepare for an article he planned to write for a magazine called Bicycle Guide, Pierce worked for a month as a bike messenger in downtown New York. On the streets for eleven hours a day, he dodged taxis and buses, sometimes reaching a speed of thirty-nine miles an hour on his custom-made, $2,500 racing bike. Was he worried about this expensive bike being stolen as he dashed into buildings to deliver his packages?

You bet he was. To thwart thieves, Pierce wrapped duct tape around the frame of his bike and spray-painted it black. His bike looked like a piece of junk, and his plan worked. No one touched it.

We cannot always judge value by appearance.